Birthdays! Queen’s 90th, Shakespeare’s 400th

This certainly has turned into the Week of Big Birthdays! First, the Queen turned 90. Then, Shakespeare turned 400. Finally, my friend Roslin turned the big 3-0.

So much to celebrate, and not enough cake has been consumed by me.

The first Big Birthday was Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th on April 21st.

As the longest reigning monarch, she has been on the throne for 63 1/2 years. That means that she was 23 when she started reigning over a COUNTRY. I’m 24 and wouldn’t trust myself with a hamster, let alone another human being (or 65 million of them!).

I can’t even trust myself with getting my papers done without waiting until the last minute (adding this to the 10,000 reasons why I should never rule a country). In the UK she gets two birthdays. April 21, her actual day of birth, and her “official” birthday on a Saturday in June.

I may pitch the idea of two birthdays to my friends and family this September. Two parties, two sets of presents, and, more importantly… Two cakes 🎂🎂🎁🎁🎉🎉🎉


To celebrate her 90th, London’s souvenir shops have really stepped up their game!

For those of you who were asking about the mug I had posted on my Instagram (follow me!), I had originally seen it in the Canterbury Cathedral gift shop on my day trip (go read that post! so many adventures jammed into one day!).


I’ve been trying to limit what I buy, because I keep reminding myself that everything needs to fit in two suitcases (sadly, not the Mary Poppins bottomless type), so I didn’t buy it. However, I had non-buyer’s regret (is there a word for the opposite of buyer’s regret?? is it actually a thing? or is it just a me-thing?), so I searched for it online and bought one!

Here’s the link:  David Luff’s 90th Birthday Mug

They ship to the U.S., as well as a long list of other places, so I had mine shipped to my parents house to avoid trying (probably unsuccessfully) to cram it into my suitcase without breaking it.

To celebrate in my own little way (since I was stuck in The British Library all day), before passing out Friday from study-exhaustion, I watched the BBC’s documentary, Elizabeth at 90: A Family Tribute. It was adorable! They had the Queen, Prince Charles, William and Harry, and a few of cousins watch old family videos (mostly shot by the Queen herself) and talk about their family memories. It was sweet.

Big Birthday Number 2: William Shakespeare’s 400th on April 23rd.


Apologies to the Queen, but old Will’s birthday has eclipsed hers a bit. BUT, since she gets “another” birthday this summer, I guess she’s ok with it.

Actually, this is the 400th anniversary of his death, BUT, since he died on his birthday, it’s a  combo celebration of both!

London is freaking out about this anniversary. Shakespeare 400 signs are everywhere. The British Library is doing an exhibit where you can see a play script written in his own handwriting, an original edition of Hamlet, and his First Folio.

Two miles of the South Bank river walk along the Thames, which is also where Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is, “The Complete Walk” is open to the public all weekend.


Beginning on Saturday, 37 screens will be situated along the two mile stretch, with each screen playing a ten minute clip of a Shakespearean movie or play. If you do the math (I hate math, so I didn’t; I went off of what Time Out London told me), that’s over six hours of content.


On Sunday, I’ll probably take a (not earned) study break and walk along the river to see some of the screens. Shakespeare only turns 400 once, right? So as a history major studying the 1500-1800s (HIS time period), it would actually be horribly irresponsible of me not to go…right? Right.


My friend Jackie actually went to Stratford-Upon-Avon on Saturday (his actual birthday) to experience the epic celebrations happening there. Since I couldn’t go (curse these papers!), Here’s some of my pictures from the last time I visited Shakespeare’s birth place:


Sign outside his home-you can actually visit and go inside to see how he would have lived

His grave, which was so teensy tiny. I was shocked that it wasn’t more grand, especially since he had already achieved fame and fortune during his lifetime, which many authors/artists/playwrights don’t get.


It’s a very pretty town, especially along the riverfront



It’s all very romantic, with swans swimming everywhere


Apparently, this weekend the town is going to produce special Shakespeare-themed money, which I’m hoping Jackie will bring back for me to gawk over.


A skull, a crown, and a rose as symbols for his plays



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